No scanners for SA airports

2010-01-04 14:35

Johannesburg - Airports in South Africa will not be equipped with full body scanners in the near future, the Airports Company of SA (Acsa) said on Monday.

"Acsa is not considering procuring full body scanners at this stage," said the company's spokesperson Nicky Knapp.

"Passengers travelling through an Acsa airport in the immediate future can therefore expect the exact same procedures, vigilance and commitment to safety and security as was the case last week and last month."

Security measures at airports across the world have been stepped up since a thwarted Christmas Day terrorist attack aboard a plane heading to the US.

Increased pre-screening

On December 25, a Nigerian man, allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, smuggled explosives onboard and tried to detonate them before being overpowered by passengers and crew on the NorthWest airline flight travelling from Schipol Airport in Amsterdam towards Detroit.

The US Transport Security Administration consequently issued a worldwide security directive requesting the increased pre-screening of passengers both prior to departure, as well as on board for flights destined for the US.

On Monday, Knapp said that the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) was the governing body which regulated Acsa's safety and security measures in line with international standards.

Knapp said as yet SACAA had not instructed it to introduce any new security measures at its airports.

"Should the SACAA issue any directive in this regard, Acsa will most certainly comply and implement such directive."

The only checkpoint controlled by Acsa from check-in to boarding is the security control points equipped with archway metal detectors, X-ray machines and security personnel.

Comprehensive security plan

Knapp said Acsa had a comprehensive security plan in place across its network of 10 airports to keep passengers, airport users and airport staff safe.

"Acsa also continues to work closely with its security partners - including the South African Police Services, the National Intelligence Agency, private security contractors, Immigration, Border Police and Customs - and the airlines to ensure the safety and security of its airports."

Knapp recommended that passengers travelling over the next few weeks arrived earlier for check-in and that they also phoned their airline to find out if any new security measures were being put in place.

Passengers should also be vigilant with luggage.

Acsa also has a 24-hour help desk which can be reached on 011 921 6262 for further information about the airlines or arrival times.